Article first published as Two Civilian Killed in North Korea Attack on Blogcritics.
Two burnt bodies of civilians in their 60s have been found on South Korea’s island Yeonpyeong, shelled on November 23 by North Korea after South Korea test fired its arsenal as part of military drill, according to South Korea. It has been reported yesterday that two South Korean marines have been killed and 17 were wounded apart from three civilians. Today, South Korea said that at least 18 people were injured in the attack, as per BBC News.
Homes and mountains were set fire forcing civilians to flee the island for the mainland. The island is situated near the maritime boarder in Yellow sea, which is not recognised by North Korea saying the boarder was unilaterally imposed by the UN. North Korea says the island is disputed.
Some analysts are of the view that the recent aggressive posture by North Korea is part of internal political disputes. They say the rise in tensions has to be seen in the background of transition of power, political and military, from Kim-Jong-Ill to his son Kim-Jong-Un.
They analyse that the show of North Korea’s aggressiveness is to appease the hardliners in the North Korean military establishments. It is meant to say that the recently introduced heir of the present leader is ready to show the military might of the North Korea and he is not inclined to budge to international pressures to stall its nuclear programme. If that is the case, the tensions may continue for some more months.
Advantage North Korea
There also significant views among international analysts that North Korea wishes to win some advantage in on-going, but stalled, six-partite negotiations to end North Korean nuclear programme. This view is shared by many, and even proved by North Korea’s actions, whenever discussions take place. North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are also looked as part of such strategy.
It is also said that North Korea was angry at South Korea for postponing of humanitarian aid promised to North Korea as part of agreements reached in past negotiations. Yesterday also South Korea said it was suspending flood aid to the North in retaliation to the North Korea’s attack. But, North Korea said South Korea provoked the attack with its military drill, and artillery firing into North Korea.
US’ Military Relocation
The US already has 28,000 strong military personnel, stationed in South Korea. Although the US denied yesterday that it had ordered any relocation of its military relocation, a nuclear powered US aircraft carrier USS George Washington having a crew of more than 6,000 left a naval base in Japan for Korean waters on November 24. South Korea said the move was already planned prior to the Koreas’ exchange of fire and has nothing to do with the latest development.
In the background of series of developments taking place in the Korean peninsula over past one year, it may be expected that more incidents leading to continuous escalation of tensions, however mild it may be, will be imminent in coming few months until six-partite negotiations are resumed.